Though Jaakko Eino Kalevi is the Finnish producer/multi-instrumentalist's official debut album, he spent years releasing albums and EPs that ranged from Modern Life's coldwave explorations to the disco-inspired Yin Yang Theater to the hazy pop of Dreamzone. Kalevi combines a little of all of these styles, and several more, into a musical portrait that deserves to bear his name; he even turns his moniker into a surprisingly effective hook on the misty opening track "J.E.K.," which sets the stage for the rest of the album's fog-swathed excursions. Thanks to his previous genre-hopping, he gives the album more range than might be expected. "Double Talk"'s glassy perfection rivals the smoothest of soft rock hits; the mix of bouncy keyboards and sleek beats on "Deeper Shadows" sounds like library music gone disco; and "Night at the Field" injects some tension into the album's otherwise breezy world. Elsewhere, the whimsy and ease with which he reclaims and repurposes sounds dismissed by some as cheesy on songs like "Say" and "Don't Ask Me Why" recall the gently subversive work of Connan Mockasin and Shintaro Sakamoto. Indeed, Kalevi is so skilled at creating a lush, whispery dreamworld that, at times, the album threatens to become lovely sonic wallpaper; fortunately, sharper-edged tracks such as "Hush Down" and the synth and sax epic "I Kuinen Purkautumaton Jännite" prevent it from fading into the background. A bit of a grower, Jaakko Eino Kalevi is a subtly enticing album that establishes his niche within experimental pop.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares